Comics Ate My Brain

December 1, 2004

Batman Plus One

Filed under: batman — Tom Bondurant @ 5:57 pm
If the “Crisis 2” one-year-later rumor turns out to be true, I know what I’d like to see from the Batman line.

Batman has finally achieved some measure of control over Gotham City’s crime. More significantly, he has done it without the help of his small group of allies. Robin has moved permanently to San Francisco and is preparing to become the full-time leader of the Teen Titans. Batgirl has joined Oracle and the Birds of Prey as they travel around the world. Nightwing is still dividing his time between Bludhaven and the Outsiders. Catwoman has ended her relationship with the Darknight Detective and is adventuring overseas. Even Alfred is on an extended vacation. As shocking as it sounds, Batman at times almost seems happy.

Bruce Wayne is also enjoying his life for the first time in decades. His playboy life is back in full swing, and the Wayne Foundation has made a renewed commitment to Gotham’s economic prosperity, starting with Gotham’s poorest citizens. The city’s news media are all speculating about what will happen next — whether he’ll be married, Mayor, or running his own reality TV series.

The first issue summarizes all of that, showing typical Batman action balanced with Bruce’s daytime (and nightlife) activities. It ends with Batman easing the Batmobile into its hangar at the end of a long night. He’s tired, but it’s the good kind of tired that comes from a satisfactory day of hard work. He pulls off his cape and cowl, puts a robe on over his costume, and relaxes in an easy chair with a snifter of brandy before heading upstairs into Wayne Manor. He pauses at a sink in the Batcave to splash some water on his face, and as he looks into the mirror …

… the face of Hugo Strange looks back.

I haven’t worked out all the details yet, but I picture a sweeping epic involving all the usual suspects. Hugo’s attempt to kill Alfred triggers the Bat-family’s search for Bruce Wayne, which in turn takes them to the far corners of the Earth and forces some very unexpected alliances. Specifically, Tim and Dick enlist Ra’s al Ghul’s daughters (Talia and Nyssa from Death and the Maidens) to help them bring down Hugo Strange — but how can they take out Hugo without destroying Batman? More importantly, once Bruce reclaims his life, will he have learned any lessons from his old enemy? Hugo’s success was so complete because he found out he could be a cold, unfeeling misanthrope to Dick, Tim, Cassie, and Alfred, without them suspecting that anything was wrong. Hugo also found out he liked scaring the daylights out of people as much as he liked the Wayne playboy lifestyle. In other words, it can be fun to be Batman if you’re not burdened by Bruce Wayne’s past….

Anyway, just a thought.



  1. I’m sold.

    Comment by Shane Bailey — December 3, 2004 @ 7:41 pm

  2. Thanks! I think Hugo Strange is criminally underused. For my money, he should have been the “Hush” villain.

    Comment by Tom Bondurant — December 5, 2004 @ 12:31 am

  3. Cor.To not see that coming, that would be awesome.

    Comment by Ratbat — June 26, 2005 @ 2:31 pm

  4. Um, ‘awesome’. Apparently the tag blew out.

    Comment by Ratbat — June 26, 2005 @ 2:32 pm

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